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Light & Verity

Tuition Keeps Rising, But the Sticker is Less Shocking

It may be scant consolation for the downwardly mobile parents in a recent New Yorker cartoon, but the University announced in March that it is raising its undergraduate term bill for 1999 by only 2.9 percent. That figure matches last year’s increase, which was the smallest at Yale since 1968 and the smallest among Ivy League schools since 1979.

Tuition next year will cost $24,500, and room and board will cost $7,440, for a total term bill of $31,940. But some 38 percent of Yale undergraduates will receive financial aid from the University; the average grant is expected to be about $15,500.

While the term bill is still growing faster than inflation, which inched along at only 1.61 percent last year, President Richard Levin points out that the rate of increase has declined or remained steady in every year of his Presidency, which began in 1993. “When I became President, Yale was the most expensive school in the country,” Levin says. “We’re no longer at the top.”


Berkeley Balcony Raises a Ruckus

However useful it might prove for future productions of Romeo and Juliet, a newly built balcony in the Berkeley College dining hall has sparked a dispute within the University that rivals that of the Montagues and the Capulets. A number of professors and students have signed a petition protesting the balcony, which is being added to the east end of the dining hall as part of the $25-million renovation of the college, to be completed this summer./p>

Architect Steven Kieran '73 of Kieran, Timberlake & Harris of Philadelphia says the balcony was designed to add a different, separate dining area to the hall, as well as to screen serving equipment below and allow better access to the adjacent Swiss Room. But the petition, written by architectural historian Robert Grant Irving '62, an associate fellow of Berkeley, charges that the balcony will “reduce rather than enhance” the dining hall’s appearance. Among the signatories who agree are history professor and former Berkeley master Robin Winks and Emeritus history of art professors George Hersey and Vincent Scully Jr. “It’s too cheap-looking and utilitarian for that lovely interior,” says Hersey of the new insertion.

Kieran says he believes original architect James Gamble Rogers would find the objections “peculiar,” since he designed Berkeley to look as if it had been shaped by “different hands and styles” over the years.

While the petition brought the issue to public attention in February, Irving says he has made known his objections to the balcony—along with other aspects of the renovation—since March of 1997. On that point, he and associate vice president Kemel Dawkins agree. “All of [Irving's] concerns were relayed to the officers, taken to the housing council, and heard by the Corporation,” says Dawkins.

But Irving says that since he got nowhere working “through channels,” he resorted to the petition in hopes that “the University would at the last minute see the the error of its ways.” But the balcony is now substantially complete, and the petition hasn’t changed Dawkins’s mind. “I’m not considering taking it down,” he says.


Theater Archive a Hit in New Haven

For 50 years, the New Dramatists playwrights' center in New York has helped nurture some of America’s greatest dramatic talents, including William Inge, Paddy Chayefsky, James Baldwin, and John Guare '63MFA. Now, the stories behind those careers can be found in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, which has purchased the organization’s archives.

Founded in 1949 by the playwright Michaela O'Harra, New Dramatists is a haven for young talent, providing support from mentors and peers to foster experimentation and risk-taking. Max Wilk '41, a playwright and author who was in the group’s first “class” in 1949, says the experience was “like swimming in a sea of professionalism. Every week the most prominent people from the theater would come and spend three or four hours with us talking about the problems of playwriting.”

It was Wilk who suggested that the Beinecke might be interested in the organization’s papers, which previously lay uncatalogued in a church basement. The papers, which cover the years 1949 to 1989, include more than 750 manuscripts, including some submitted by playwrights hoping to join New Dramatists and others developed by members with the aid of the organization. The trove also includes photographs of and letters from a number of important theater figures. “It’s a wonderful window on the development of playwriting in New York in the postwar years,” says Beinecke curator of American literature Patricia Willis.

Wilk says that many of the plays written by members from the organization’s early years were tried out at New Haven’s >Shubert Theater. “To have these things coming back to New Haven is a lovely idea,” he says.


Aid Plan Survivors Balk at Settlement

Late in March, the University announced that it will shut down its Tuition Postponement Option (TPO) program, a financial aid plan offered between 1971 and 1978 that requires participants to pay a portion of their annual income to Yale. Those still paying into the program were told that they will no longer be required to contribute after the year 2001. But the organizers of TPO Blues, the group that first called for relief from the obligation last year, say they are not satisifed with the agreement.

“If the University has come up with a solution that takes three more years, surely they can come up with a way to end the program immediately,” says Juan Leon ’74, one of 50 TPO participants who signed a letter calling for the program to shut down at the end of this year.

Yale officials say that ending the program in 2001 will cost the University $2 million, in addition to the $5-million loss it was already expecting to incur when the group obligations expired after 35 years.

Under the TPO plan, students agreed to pay 0.4 percent of their income for every $1,000 borrowed until their class’s group obligation was paid off, which was expected to take 20 to 25 years. But the numbers didn’t work out that way, in part because 15 percent of the participants stopped paying. Under Yale’s settlement, those who are in default will be held liable unless they make up missed payments.


Architects Meet on Remaking Yale

From the old Brick Row to the brownstone campus of the late 1800s to the rich Gothic of the interwar years, Yale has remade itself architecturally in dramatic ways over the past 300 years. A School of Architecture symposium in April looked back at those transformations but mainly emphasized the current billion-dollar building program.

Unlike the construction campaigns of the past, though, this one is largely focused on the renovation of Yale’s existing buildings, a fact reflected in the division of the symposium into three sessions: one on renovations, one on new buildings, and one on campus planning efforts. Eighteen architects presented projects ranging from the renovation of the Rose Alumni House by Gregg & Weis Architects to the new environmental sciences facility next to the Peabody Museum by David M. Schwarz/Architectural Services and GSI Architects.

The program, hosted by architecture dean Robert A. M. Stern and underwritten by architect James Volney Righter '70MArch, was not without controversy, mostly centered on preservation battles over the Maple Cottage on Trumbull Street, the partial demolition and renovation of the Divinity School, and a new balcony inserted in the Berkeley College dining hall. Vincent Scully Jr. '40, the Sterling Professor Emeritus of the History of Art, devoted much of his opening address to criticism of the University’s record on preservation issues. On the last day, Scully took the stage at the Law School Auditorium again, just before President Richard Levin’s closing remarks, and made a surprise announcement: After reiterating his longstanding objections to the demolition at the Divinity School, Scully, who is retired but teaches a course in the School of Architecture, said that if the plan went forward, “I’d have to think seriously about my future at this institution.”


Yale Signs “No Sweatshop” Pact

In an effort to ensure that products licensed to carry the Yale trademark are not manufactured in sweatshops, the University announced on March 17 that it had become a charter member of an industry, government, and academic coalition called the Fair Labor Association. At least 17 universities, including all of those in the Ivy League, have now joined the FLA, which grew out of the 1996 White House-sponsored Apparel Industry Partnership, an endeavor designed to protect workers throughout the world against exploitation.

“We’re helping to raise the bar,” says Helen Kauder, director of Yale’s licensing program. “The FLA obligates companies to change the way they do business.”

The hallmark of the agreement is its requirement that manufacturers comply with a code of conduct that forbids such practices as forced labor, child labor, harassment and abuse, and discrimination. It also calls on companies to recognize workers' rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining, as well as to decent wages, a reasonable work week (and overtime pay, if necessary), and a safe and healthy workplace.

To ensure that these basic conditions are met, the FLA requires regular monitoring and reporting of conditions, both by the manufacturers and by outside agencies certified by the Association.

But campus leaders such as Jess Champagne '01, coordinator of Yale Students Against Sweatshops, are unimpressed with the agreement. “This is not what anti-sweatshop advocates were asking for,” says Champagne, citing inadequacies in the FLA’s monitoring provisions and its failure to require companies to publicly disclose the locations of all manufacturing facilities.

While Kauder admits that there are shortcomings, she is cautiously optimistic about the agreement. “It remains to be seen how the FLA, which doesn’t yet have a staff or a director, will function, but it could do some good simply by requiring plants to obey the laws of their own countries,” Kauder notes. “This is clearly a work-in-progress.”


Ice Cream, Coffee in City Swap

After more than two decades of serving cold comfort to the Yale populace, Ashley’s Ice Cream closed its doors on March 5, an apparent casualty of its owner’s financial problems. Meanwhile, the coffee giant Starbucks has finally cracked the Yale market, announcing that it will open a large new store at the corner of Chapel and High streets.

Ashley's, which was named for a champion Frisbee-catching dog, started out on College Street two blocks south of campus. Students quickly took to the store’s frozen confections, which were made on site, and trips to the store began to rival pizza pilgrimages to Sally’s and Pepe’s as off-campus rituals.

Taking advantage of its base of Yale customers, Ashley’s moved in the 1980s to a storefront on York Street near Broadway, bringing its “canine wall of fame” and Frisbee collection to the new location. Soon Ashley’s had four other locations in neighboring towns. But employees told the Yale Daily News that owner Bob Weisblatt had had trouble meeting his payroll and paying for supplies in recent months, and the remaining stores closed within three weeks of New Haven's.

In the mid-1980s, Ashley’s was one of as many as five ice cream shops near the campus. While Joe Fahey of University Properties says his office is “looking to put ice cream back on Broadway,” the eight area coffee shops suggest that caffeine has replaced sugar as the Yale student’s favored legal stimulant. As if to underscore that point, the national chain Starbucks will open its first Yale-area store next year, on the site recently occupied by Kaye’s Art Shop (which has moved to a site by the New Haven Green). While Fahey says that University Properties has long resisted Starbucks’s advances, the University does not own or control the location where the java juggernaut will be installed.


Record Damages in Medical Suit

The parents of a young man whose open-heart surgery at Yale New-Haven Hospital went awry nearly 13 years ago were awarded $27 million in early March in a malpractice lawsuit against YNHH and the University. The award is the largest judgment in a medical case in Connecticut history.

The six-person jury, which heard more than a month of testimony, agreed with the contentions of the attorneys for Arlene and William Jacobs that Yale was liable for the surgery which left their son, William J. Jacobs, blind and largely wheelchair-bound. The young man, who was 17 in 1986 when the operation took place, had been transferred to YNHH from a hospital in Duchess County, New York, after being seriously injured in an auto accident in which four other people died. Doctors at Yale believed that William’s persistent fever was the result of a tear in his aortic artery, but during an operation to repair the blood vessel, a surgical clamp caused the artery to rupture. The subsequent loss of blood and cardiac arrest left the patient with severe brain damage.

The hospital and the University are currently awaiting a review of the award by presiding New Haven Superior Court judge Jon Blue before determining how to proceed. In a press release, a spokesman for Yale stressed that “although the jury’s verdict is in, judgment is not final and there are outstanding legal issues to be resolved before [we will decide] whether to take any additional steps.”


Caring Strategy to Prevent Delirium

More than 50 percent of all patients over the age of 70 suffer from delirium during a stay in the hospital, and for many seniors, the confusion that is a hallmark of the condition marks the beginning of a suite of medical complications that can result in death. But a program developed recently by Sharon K. Inouye, associate professor of medicine and geriatrics, and her colleagues at the Yale–New Haven Hospital has demonstrated that “many cases of delirium are avoidable.”

In the March 4 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, Inouye explained that their “Elder Life Program” decreased the incidence of delirium by 40 percent in a study population of 852 patients. Each was seen three times a day by a trained volunteer who made sure that the patient was kept apprised of the day’s medical schedule and was kept mentally stimulated through such activities as word games and structured reminiscences. There were daily walks or exercise sessions, back rubs and herbal tea to ensure a good night’s sleep, and careful monitoring of fluid intake to prevent dehydration.

“This is simply good care for any older patient in the hospital, but it’s time-consuming for the staff, who have to train and supervise the volunteers,” says Inouye. “When you talk about delirium, prevention is the most effective strategy.”  the end


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